Calgary hasn’t lost 3 games in a row in regulation time since November of 2007, but tonight they were up against a determined Columbus team that wanted to be the ones to break that impressive streak and continue their recent success in the Saddledome. The Blue Jackets gave the Flames everything they had, but in the end Calgary prevailed, even having to face their Achilles heel – the dreaded shootout.
On The Line
Calgary had lost the past 2 games after running through December and January almost untouchable. This was the last game for both teams before the All-star break, and as close as game as Calgary has that you might call a must-win in quite some time. Losing three straight heading into the break against three average opponents (Phoenix and Colorado being the other 2) would put a very negative spell on what had been a very formidable couple months. Columbus had just lost their last game the night before, coughing up a lead on a last minute Edmonton goal and escaping Rexall with no points. They desperately need points to stay in the thick of the playoff bubble.
The game got off to a furious start as Calgary got all over Columbus on the opening 3 or 4 shifts. The Flames already had about 3 scoring chances when Columbus got their first chance 2:56 into the frame, but the Jackets capitalized on theirs as R.J. Umberger fired a shot on a 2-on-1 that fooled Kiprusoff high on his blocker side to give the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead that seemed to stun the crowd. After some rough stuff which included a Dion Phaneuf game misconduct, Jarome Iginla scored an odd 3-on-3 goal. The Flames had actually just taken a penalty, but the teams had to stay even strength until Ole-Kristian Tollefsen returned from an earlier tripping penalty. So there was about 40 seconds of 3-on-3 play with which Calgary benefited from. Jarome Iginla took an Adrian Aucoin pass and one-timed it past Mason to knot the game at 1. Calgary then went directly to the penalty kill and R.J. Umberger scored his 2nd of the period just 31 seconds after Iginla’s goal, to give the Jackets their lead right back. The first period craziness would continue as their were chances at both end, but the score would remain 2-1 in favour of Columbus heading to the 2nd frame.
The 2nd period was much like the first, full of hits and after whistle skirmishes but the scoring wouldnt start until 17:40, when Mike Cammalleri would continue his hot streak by finding the net on the powerplay as a result of a Tollefsen penalty for delay of game. But just like in the first period, Columbus had an answer right away. Off the ensuing face off, the Jackets gained the zone and Jakub Voracek snapped home his 7th of the year to put Columbus right back on top. But wait, there’s more! Just 40 ticks off the clock after that, at 18:30, David Moss wrapped around his 15th of the year and sent the game into the 3rd period tied at 3. If you’ve ever watched a Calgary – Columbus game before, you know this is unusually high scoring.
Calgary got off to a depressing start in the 3rd, as Rick Nash skated in short-handed on Kiprusoff and simply undressed the finnish netminder with a slick deke to put Columbus up by a 4-3 score. The Flames appeared flattened after that goal, playing sloppy as Columbus thwarted every attempt to gain the zone. That was until Michael Cammalleri took a feed from Jarome Iginla, and skated in off the right wing and sniped it past Mason short-side at 2:35 to lift the Flames back into a tie. This coming just seconds after Kiprusoff poke-checked Umberger on a breakaway to keep Calgary in it. 4 leads for Columbus, 4 straight answers from Calgary. Both teams had chances to win the game in regulation but couldn’t muster a late goal.
Overtime solved nothing, but Calgary had some scoring chances and Rick Nash had a partial breakaway that he fumbled the puck on. Off to the shootout!
- Michael Cammalleri – SAVED – shot (glove save)
- Jason Williams – SAVED – deke (poke-check save)
- Jarome Iginla – SAVED – shot (glove deflection)
- Rick Nash – SAVED – deke (poke-check save)
- Todd Bertuzzi – GOAL – deke (backhand)
- Jakub Voracek – SAVED – shot (pokecheck attempt, pad save)
Flames win a rare shootout on Saddledome ice, sending the crowd home with their money’s worth and heading into the All-star break with a big sigh of relief.
- Mike Cammalleri: First time in a long time that Calgary has had a sniper like this. What a shot. 2 goals on the night to raise his season total to 22. This guy should be going to the All-star game.
- R.J. Umberger: 2 goals on the night but could have had 3 or 4, looked like the Jacket’s most dangerous forward all game.
- Corey Sarich: Stepped up huge in the absence of Phaneuf and notched 1 assist to go along with 27:53 of icetime and didn’t look out of step once.
Miikka Kiprusoff absolutley robbed Frederik Modin on a 2-on-1 deke in the 2nd period. Modin faked the pass, then tried the backhand deke but Kiprusoff made himself huge and extended his left pad to just get a piece of the shot. The score was 2-1 at the time in favour of Columbus, and he kept it there.
Adam Pardy did his best Dion Phaneuf impression and simply destroyed Ole Tollefsen as he tried to bring the puck between Pardy and the boards. The hit was reminiscent of the Sarich-Marleau levelling from the 2008 playoff series with San Jose.
Could have been Dion Phaneuf for his selfish hit on Umberger that cost him the game, and put the Flames on a lengthy penalty kill. Could have been the powerplay for allowing Rick Nash to sneak behind them and score short-handed in the 3rd period, giving Columbus the lead. But I hate giving the goat to the winning team, as neither of those players cost their team the game. The goat tonight will be Steve Mason. He played well overall, but allowed Cammalleri to score from a pretty weak angle in the 3rd period, the goal which tied the game and sent it to overtime. An NHL goalie has to stop that shot.
Cammalleri. No explanation required. Kiprusoff with the honorable mention for his shootout poke-checks.
Odds and Ends
Todd Bertuzzi returned to the lineup after missing 5 games due to a hip flexor. Kristian Huselius once again failed to make his return to the Saddledome after cutting his wrist last night in Edmonton. Adrian Aucoin yielded the most icetime of any player with 30:51, and potted 2 assists. Yet he was a curious -2, quite the odd stat-line. Columbus outshot Calgary 33-31. Early in the game, Steve Mason fired the puck down the ice when the flames where changing lines on their lengthy PK. The puck missed everyone, and Giordano touched it for what he, and the rest of the world would have thought was an icing call, yet no whistle sounded. I hate how arbitrary the icing rule is…always have, always will.
Everyone except Jarome Iginla gets a week off for the All-star break, then Buffalo comes to town on the 28th for a 6:00 pm start at the dome. Catch the game on TSN HD or as always, the Fan 960.
Lines (To Start):
Cammalleri – Conroy – Iginla
Bertuzzi – Langkow – Bourque
Glencross – Lombardi- Moss
Nystrom – Boyd – Roy
Phaneuf – Pardy
Regehr – Aucoin
Sarich – Giordano